An essential requirement in haptics is accuracy and transparency of the haptic interface. Haptic devices are usually lightweight robotic systems with which a human operator interacts. In the current literature, dynamic analyses of haptic devices are limited to single degree-of-freedom (DoF) point mass models. In this paper, experimental and simulation studies are conducted to investigate the effects of mechanical design parameters on the performance of such devices. For this purpose two commonly used haptic devices were considered: a two-DoF PANTOGRAPH and a three-DoF PHANToM. The results show that dynamic coupling between the rendered (controlled) and free directions of motion can influence the desired performance. An alternative formulation is outlined in which dynamic behavior of a haptic interface is modeled as a multibody system. The dynamic equations are separated to two sets of equations associated with the rendered and admissible motions. Effects of time delay and discretization stemming from digital realization of the virtual environment can be analyzed using the rendered dynamic equations, while the equations associated with the admissible motions can serve as a basis for performance measure. This formulation can be efficiently used for the complex nonlinear dynamics and stability analyses of haptic interfaces and can provide essential details on the performance of these devices. Stability analysis of a two-DoF five-bar linkage is presented as an example using the proposed formulation.

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